Perching Birds

Scarlet Tanager Scarlet Tanager
Piranga olivacea


7 1/2" (19 cm). In breeding plumage, male brilliant scarlet with black wings and tail. In nonbreeding plumage, female and male olive green; male has black wings.


Song a hurried, burry, repetitive warble, somewhat like that of a robin. Call note an emphatic, nasal chip-bang.


Chiefly mature woodlands, especially oak and pine.


3 or 4 brown-spotted greenish eggs in a shallow nest of twigs and stems lined with grass and placed on a horizontal branch.


Breeds from extreme southeastern Canada to east-central United States. Winters in tropics.


The brilliantly colored male Scarlet Tanager gleams in the sunlight but is often difficult to see in thick foliage, especially if the bird is motionless or moving slowly from branch to branch high up in the tree canopy. It is conspicuous only when perched on a dead tree limb or when feeding on the ground during a cold, rainy spell. During late summer or early autumn, some of the males may show a patchwork plumage of red and green as they undergo a molt to olive green, except for their wings and tails, which remain black throughout the winter.